Authentic Courtroom to Give Pre-Law Students a Place to Practice

UT Dallas is now home to a Texas courtroom replica, which will help serve as a training facility for pre-law students and UT Dallas’ competitive pre-law teams.

Dr. Champagne in the courtroom named for him

Dr. Anthony Champagne tries out a chair in a new student courtroom that has been named for him.

Housed in the Founders Building, the project was initiated by Dr. Sheila Amin Guiterriez de Piñeres, former dean of Undergraduate Education, and named in honor of Dr. Anthony Champagne, a political science professor at UT Dallas who has taught at the University since 1979.

Dr. Anthony Champagne is a faculty member in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (previously, Social Sciences) at UT-Dallas and Director of the Pre-Law Program in Undergraduate Education

Faculty, students and alumni celebrated the courtroom’s completion with a reception and tours of the new facility in May.

“This will be absolutely fantastic for both moot court and mock trial because students are working in a courtroom as opposed to a classroom,” said Champagne, who is director of the University's Pre-Law Advising and Resource Center. “I’m very thankful to Dr. Piñeres for the courtroom. This is something we’ve wanted for a long time.”

Students who compete in Moot Court and Mock Trial are better prepared for collegiate competitions when they’ve practiced in a realistic courtroom setting, Champagne added.

Ryan Kirby, a 1998 UT Dallas alumnus, attended the reception, which served as both a homecoming and an opportunity to see the courtroom.

“The quality of the education I received at UT Dallas was exceptional,” Kirby said. “Tony’s advocacy for pre-law also really inspired my career. I’m so impressed by the courtroom and I think this will continue the tradition of excellence here.”

A plaque pays tribute to Dr.  Champagne.

The courtroom itself was constructed using the same materials and specifications as any courtroom in the state, Champagne said. The room itself has a judicial bench, witness boxes, and spaces for prosecution and defense.

UT Dallas is the only school in Texas to have teams in all three major undergraduate legal advocacy competitions: moot court, mock trial and mediation. Moot court is modeled after appellate procedure, whereas mock trial is designed to simulate trials.

Dalton Mott, a UT Dallas junior and law school hopeful, said the new courtroom will change the way he and his teammates prepare for national mock trial competitions.

“Being immersed in the actual environment, in a courtroom that looks this perfect, will be such a boost to us,” Mott said.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].